Stephen Gould distinguished himself as Tristan, rising to heights of intensity especially in the delirious ravings of Act III, almost frightening, it was so believable. He also created a good balance of tenderness and passion during the Love Duet . I love this image from Act II - she starts setting the table for them, but then they get so involved in their discussion of the nature of love that they forget about it....
Iain Patterson was good as Kurwenal, bluff, soldierly, managing to convey his dislike of Isolde (and Brangaene) with body language as much as tone of voice. But - I am very much afraid we are witnessing the beginning of John Tomlinson's vocal decline. True, the shakiness of his voice did add to the poignancy of King Marke's lament (I always grieve for King Marke, whom Wagner portrays as a much more noble character than his counterpart in the medieval sources). But he just no longer has the ringing sonority he had when he was in his prime, although he did convey very movingly the idea of an older man crushed by grief. Think how sad it is for him - he loved and admired Tristan, he adored Isolde, even though he had apparently never tried to consummate the marriage.....and they repay him like this.
I have to say that this time I was rather disappointed with Pappano's conducting of the Prelude, it seemed rather hesitant and tentative, and didn't immediately plunge you into the world of strange chromaticism that Tristan and Isolde inhabit. But I can't fault the orchestral playing in later Acts - the Love Duet opens out onto a plateau of utter gorgeousness. (Pity about the idiot behind me who had FORGOTTEN TO TURN OFF THEIR PHONE).
I'll finish with an extract from Swinburne's TRISTRAM OF LYONESSE which he could not have written without Wagner. (Probably reading Swinburne's version wasn't the best way to come down from my Wagner-induced high, but there you are!!)